CAR ENTHUSIASTS were flocking to forecourts at motor dealerships across the town yesterday as the new registration plate went on sale.
And this year, Friday and 13 was a lucky combination with the new plate.
Scores of car buyers eagerly arrived at dealerships to pick up their new vehicles, with Dick Lovett Mini and Fish Brothers Honda at Bridgemead among those reporting an exceptionally busy day.
Pebley Beach Suzuki and Hyundai specialists also welcomed 24 proud new owners into their Swindon and Cirencester showrooms over the day, with many more due to come in over the weekend.
One of those picking up her new car– a rose blush coloured Alto – was Nicola Brown from Covingham who is hoping the number 13 will be lucky for her.
Nicola, 33, a physiotherapist, said: “I’m pleased with the Alto, I was able to choose the colour and I could choose the number plate as well, so I went for something that both my husband and I could easily remember. “The fact that it includes the number 13 didn’t put me off, in fact I waited to have it especially, this will be my lucky car.”
Dom Threlfall, the managing director of Pebley Beach, said: “March 1 and September 1 are two of our busiest days at Pebley. “People do still want new cars and with the offers available, it can often be more cost effective to buy brand new than to buy a second hand vehicle which is a couple of years old.
“Although 13 is unlucky for some, superstition hasn’t slowed sales here. Inquiries and sales for new cars have risen compared to the same time last year and in total we have over 75 new 13 plate cars going out over the next few days. “We did see some customers rush to buy their cars last month to avoid the number, but the majority of people see it as just another number.”
And, despite research suggesting drivers nationally would be put off buying cars with the number 13 in the number plate, a spokesman at Fish Brothers Honda said the sales team had been busy all day and it was a similar picture at many other dealerships in the town.
However, a study by carbuzz.co.uk discovered 27 per cent of motorists would be discouraged from buying a vehicle when the licence plates came in to circulation yesterday.
Of the 2,058 motorists and car insurance policy holders questioned, 10 per cent admitted superstitions surrounding the number 13 would deter them from making a purchase.
A similar study by car finance and dealer specialists Carfinance247 showed 14 per cent would pay for a personalised number plate to avoid having a car registration plate with 13 in it.
Louis Rix, director at Carfinance247.co.uk, said: “The study shows that more than one in 10 motorists associate the number 13 with bad luck, and would rather buy the same, make and model of vehicle – at the same price – to get a ‘62’ registration plate.
“It will be interesting to look back and see if this year was really bad luck for new car manufacturers and good luck for used car dealers.”